With November upon us, it's time to start celebrating the holidays in Wine Country.
Your mom’s stuffing recipe is legendary and your uncle’s eggnog kills it each Christmas, but neither can compete with the bounty of food and drink you’ll find in Wine Country. Some of our favorite Napa and Sonoma spots are celebrating the upcoming holiday season with exceptional dinners, sleek soirees, and killer room deals. We sorted through a mountain of invites and picked 13 festivities that are a must for your winter calendar.
You know we love the Sonoma Wine Road. Now the prominent winery association is hosting their flagship event over this coming weekend, November 7th and 8th. More than 100 wineries throughout Sonoma’s Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys will fling open their doors for exceptional wine and food pairings. // $70 for both days or $50 for Sunday, Nov. 8, wineroad.com; tickets available at Eventbrite.com.
Join revelers in downtown Sonoma on November 14 to witness the plaza come to life with more than 100,000 twinkling lights adorning its trees and historic structures. There will be complimentary cookies, cocoa, and cider to get you in the Yuletide spirit. BYO beer and wine. // 4-8pm, Saturday, Nov. 14, holidaysinsonoma.com.
Indulge your California privilege and go camping in a vineyard this winter. Starting November 19th, you’ll be able to set up camp in one of nine safari tents set on lush winery grounds and enjoy gourmet meals prepared by a personal chef, craft cocktails served from a tricked-out Airstream bar, and artisanal s’mores passed around the campfire. Your days will be spent truffle hunting, pasta making, wine blending, hiking, cycling, and doing sunrise salutations. // Two packages range from $1,850 to $2250 per person. For reservations and information, visit terravelotours.com.
Holiday in Carneros
Over the weekend before Thanksgiving, the wineries of Carneros will open their doors for a special two-day event that promises wine and food pairings, barrel tastings, and the uncorking of a cellar gem or two. // $50 per person, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 21-22, carneroswineries.org
On November 22, Healdsburg’s stylish VML Winery will host artisan vendors on their gorgeous grounds for a shopping event to kickstart the holiday season. Stock up on olive oils, jewelry, sweet treats, and more. // VML Winery (Healdsburg), vmlwine.com
If you can make it to Solage at any point in the year, you’re doing well. The 22-acre Calistoga resort just completed a remodel that refreshed the property and significantly expanded the spa and Michelin-starred restaurant. And now, from Thanksgiving week through New Year’s Eve, they’re inviting some of the nation’s best chefs to create a five-course meal inspired by an accompanying sparkling wine or Champagne at their much lauded Solbar restaurant. We’re talking David Nayfield of Eleven Madison Park and Hung Huynh of the global Catch empire. Check out the full list of chefs here. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Calistoga Education Foundation. // $250-300 per person; for reservations, call 707-226-0899 or email email@example.com; Solage (Calistoga), solagecalistoga.com
Yountville lights up Black Friday on November 27th, with thousands of sparkling lights that transform the town into a winter wonderland. Ditch the mall for food prepped by local restaurants, wine from more than two dozen wineries, carriage rides, and the arrival of Santa and his elves. // Friday, Nov. 27, 2-6pm; admission is free, and tasting bracelets ($15-25) are available for presale at yountville.com
Upgrade your stay at this chic Yountville resort with the Enchanting Holidays package. You'll be treated to a comped glass of wine upon arrival, a roaring fireplace in your suite (all the better for cuddling!), and a $100 gift card for spa services or food at Lucy Restaurant & Bar. // Available through March 31, 2016 with promo code BRHoliday; Bardessono (Yountville), bardessono.com
(Photo by Paul Dyer)
Each weekend from November 28 to December 20, Hotel Healdsburg is serving holiday tea from 2 to 4 pm. Surrounded by lush winter florals and holiday décor, tea service will feature Chef Charlie Palmer’s custom loose leaf blends accompanied by small bites, sandwiches, scones, and housemade pastries. // $34-43 per person, $14 for children; for reservations, call Dry Creek Kitchen at 707-431-2800 or email DCK@hotelhealdsburg.com; Hotel Healdsburg (Healdsburg), hotelhealdsburg.com
On Sunday, November 29, 2015 from 2 to 4 pm, the lovely Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch will host a kid-friendly shindig with apple cider, hot cocoa, and gingerbread animal cookies fresh for decorating. Admission is free; each kid will contribute one farm animal cookie to the gingerbread ranch (on display throughout the holidays) and take two for the road. // Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch (St. Helena), longmeadowranch.com
Meadowood’s popular guest chef dinner series, The Twelve Days of Christmas, returns for its eighth season from December 4th through 19th. Celebrated chef Christopher Kostow will cook alongside a roster of international culinary influencers, including Christian Puglisi of Copenhagen’s Relæ, chef Jorge Vallejo of Mexico City‘s Quintonil, and chef Isaac McHale of The Clove Club in London. The series will benefit Napa Valley charitable organizations. The full lineup of dinners can be seen here. // $495 per guest or $750 for chef’s counter seating; for reservations, call 855-953-2435 or email firstname.lastname@example.org; Meadowood (St. Helena), meadowood.com
Stray too far from a winery's tasting bar and you might end up in a questionable gift area stocked with gaudy logo caps and wine glasses emblazoned with "humorous" quotes. Thankfully, Napa Valley natives Lindsay and Sean Garvey are producing smartly designed items, inspired by Wine Country, that you'll actually want in your home. Revival Made is their line of contemporary, handmade home goods and wellness products including beautiful ceramic wares, leather goods, and small-batch honey and olive oils. // Available at Kelly's Filling Station (Yountville) and online at revivalmade.com
10th Annual Hanukkah Hootenanny
On December 6, Judd’s Hill Winery in Napa throws its can’t-miss Hanukkah Hootenanny with barrels of wine, brisket, jelly donuts, and live music. The famous latke bar is worth the price of admission alone. // Noon to 2:30 pm, $55 per person benefiting the Napa Children's Health Initiative; Judd’s Hill (Napa), juddshill.com